There’s a difference between owning a job and owning a business.
The first one keeps you busy – trading time for money. Hopefully covering the bills, and maybe even a little better… as long as you’re there to keep it all going.
The second means your business is an asset. It has value beyond you, and you are not a slave to it. It fulfills the goals you set when you started it, and you can sell it for a profit if you choose.
If you want to build a business that can work without you – or rather, a business that works FOR you, and not just BECAUSE of you, there are 6 critical steps.
The outline below will give you an overview of what each step is, and you can take this
1-page self-assessment to rank your own business, and get a few specific things you can do to improve on any given step.
So here we go…
Step 1: MASTERY
The Mastery step is about getting control, and eliminating the chaos in the business. It doesn’t mean you’ve mastered the entire process – it means you’ve mastered the fundamentals:
• Destination Mastery: you have clear goals & a roadmap to achieve them
• Financial Mastery: understand your numbers, and use them to make decisions
• Delivery Mastery: there’s consistency in your service levels, and how you execute on your brand promise
• Time Mastery: you’re not running around like a chicken with your head cut off
The shift: from chaos to control
Step 2: NICHE
The Niche step means that you’ve differentiated your business in a way that you can compete based on your unique value – not just on price.
Having your marketing message nailed not only attracts more – and higher quality – leads, but it also helps you to convert a greater percentage of them into great clients who are happy to pay for your value. It not increases loyalty and repeat business amongst your clients, it also equips them to send you more/better referrals.
P.S. If you think your unique selling proposition is “service”… so does everyone else.
The shift: compete based on value, not price (i.e., more cash flow)
Step 3: LEVERAGE
Ok, now you’re plodding along, keeping up just fine, until…
Shoot. That sales & marketing plan you just put into place actually starts working. The business explodes and you run the risk of growing yourself into the ground.
This is where gaining leverage through simple systems is critical.
“But I don’t have time to create systems,” You say, “I’m too busy just getting things done.”
Do it without documenting it, and your destined to repeat it.
Invest the time to systemize and you’ll benefit forever.
Yes, technology and automation are a big part of this, but don’t overlook the simplicity of a good ol’ checklist system or easy-to-follow guides. The simpler the system, the more likely your team is to use it.
The shift: always seek the system-solution, not just the immediate solution
Step 4: TEAM
Sure, you might have employees before you fully complete steps 1-3. This is a framework, not necessarily a sequence.
The reason Team comes after Leverage is because systems run the business, and people run the systems. So even if people come and go, the business keeps working.
Everyone is replaceable, but a great team is irreplaceable, so the focus on the culture is imperative.
Great business owners hire for character and personality over skill. Most skills can be trained, but you can’t train them into sharing your core values. You can’t train attitude. You can’t train someone to care.
The shift: hire for character, train for skill
Step 5: SYNERGY
Have you seen those businesses that decide to open a second location, or expand to a new line of business… and it means that the business owner now works twice as hard?
That’s because part or all of the first 4 steps were overlooked.
Synergy is where things are working like a well-oiled machine. And that means the business owner can no longer run this like a manual crank system, staying involved in every aspect of the day-to-day.
At this level you’ll have a General Manager to run the day-to-day, freeing you up to… You decide.
Be the visionary? Work in your area of genius? Take time off? Act like a CEO.
This is when you can safely scale up, and know you have the infrastructure beneath you to support the growth – without the terrifying speed wobble.
The shift: management runs the day-to-day, not the owner
Step 6: RESULTS
You finished your business. Congratulations! It’s fulfilling your personal goals.
While you may still be involved in it, you can also take a good long vacation without wifi, and know the business is growing (not just scraping by) without you.
When your business is an asset, it provides you options, so this level is about investment. You might explore new paths for expansion, buy other businesses, or invest in other passive income streams.
The shift: Instead of making money with time, your focus is on making money with money.
TAKE THE SELF-ASSESSMENT
If you’ve been in business for a while, chances are you feel like you are in several of these steps – at the same time.
What that means is that there’s probably a lot you’re already doing right – but you also know there are some holes to plug.
If you know your business is capable of more, take this 1-page Self-Assessment to help you identify the gaps, along with 3-4 tips you can use to strengthen each area.